Nineteen Fifty-Six Vol. 2 No. 4, Hidden Figures

The March issue of Nineteen Fifty-Six magazine is themed "Hidden Figures" in honor of National Women's History Month, celebrating the beauty and resilience of trailblazing Black women.

The March issue of Nineteen Fifty-Six magazine is themed "Hidden Figures" in honor of National Women's History Month, celebrating the beauty and resilience of trailblazing Black women.


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MARCH 2022

DEAR<br />

BLACK<br />


You do matter. The numerous achievements and talents<br />

of Black students deserve to be recognized. As of Fall<br />

2021, 11.16% of students on campus identified as Black or<br />

African American. Black students are disproportionately<br />

underrepresented in various areas on campus. <strong>Nineteen</strong><br />

<strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> is a Black student-led magazine that amplifies<br />

the voices within the University of Alabama’s Black<br />

community. It also seeks to educate students from all<br />

backgrounds on culturally important issues and topics<br />

in an effort to produce socially-conscious, ethical and<br />

well-rounded citizens.










Tionna Taite<br />

Nickell Grant<br />

Ashton Jah<br />

Tyler Hogan<br />

Madison Davis<br />

Jolencia Jones<br />

Ashlee Woods<br />

Farrah Sanders<br />






Christine Thompson,<br />

Jolencia Jones<br />

Tonya Williams, Lyric<br />

Wisdom<br />

Karris Harmon, Asia<br />

Smith, Christian Thomas,<br />

Jordan Strawter<br />

Danielle S. McAllister,<br />

Farrah Sanders<br />


<strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> is published by the Office of Student Media at The University of Alabama. All content and<br />

design are produced by students in consultation with professional staff advisers. All material contained herein,<br />

except advertising or where indicated otherwise, is copyrighted © 2022 by <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> magazine. Material<br />

herein may not be reprinted without the expressed, written permission of <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> magazine. Editorial<br />

and Advertising offices for <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> Magazine are located at 414 Campus Drive East, Tuscaloosa, AL<br />

35487. The mailing address is P.O. Box 870170, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. Phone: (205) 348-7257.<br />

Cover illustration by Ashton Jah.


Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is making<br />

history as the first Black woman to be<br />

nominated to the United States Supreme<br />

Court. If she is confirmed, she will be<br />

the first Black woman to serve on the US<br />

Supreme Court and only the sixth woman in<br />

US history. As someone who aspires to make<br />

lasting change in the legal profession, I am<br />

inspired by her in more ways than one.<br />

I believe it’s important to highlight women<br />

such as Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.<br />

Trailblazing Black women not only pave the<br />

way for young Black girls and women, but<br />

these women also serve as proof that we are<br />

capable of accomplishing whatever we set<br />

our minds to.<br />

“<br />

There are also women I have<br />

never met but who are recorded<br />

in the pages of history and whose<br />

lives and struggles inspire me<br />

and thousands of other working<br />

women to keep putting one foot<br />

in front of another every day.<br />

”<br />

- Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson<br />

Often, Black women are not properly given<br />

their flowers for the outstanding work<br />

that they have done. Black women have<br />

become used to being overlooked and<br />

underappreciated. However, that should not<br />

be the case. I challenge you to recognize<br />

and educate yourselves on the contributions<br />

of Black women at your university, in your<br />

career field, and other aspects of your life.<br />

Truly, you will realize that many Black<br />

women are ‘hidden figures’ deserving of<br />

recognition.<br />

I am delighted to present the March<br />

2022 issue of <strong>Nineteen</strong> <strong>Fifty</strong>-<strong>Six</strong> in honor<br />

of Women’s History Month. I hope this<br />

magazine issue inspires you and educates<br />

you about the beauty and resilience of<br />

trailblazing Black women.<br />



TABLE OF<br />







1956magazine.ua.edu<br />

1956magazine<br />

1956magazine<br />




BLACK<br />

WOMEN<br />

OF UA<br />

7<br />

Throughout history, Black women are often<br />

overlooked and undervalued despite their<br />

education, status or contributions. The following<br />

examples are some trailblazing Black women who have<br />

set the standards and paved the way at the University of<br />

Alabama.<br />

“<strong>No</strong>t enough Black students know about great Black<br />

women who have come and done amazing things in<br />

their lives. They are never talked about, and other young<br />

Black women need to know that greatness can come from<br />

anywhere. We need that spark of inspiration and drive<br />

that says we are more than just our stereotypes,” said<br />

Pearl Hargray, a junior majoring in accounting.<br />

In 1965, Vivian Malone Jones became the first Black<br />

graduate from the university. Her enrollment with<br />

the university resulted in the infamous stand in the<br />

schoolhouse door from George Wallace. After receiving<br />

her degree she moved to Washington D.C. and joined the<br />

civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice<br />

where she worked as a research analyst. In 1977, she<br />

became the executive director of the Voter Education<br />

Project. In 2000, she received the honorary Doctor of<br />

Humane Letters from UA.<br />

Dianne Kirksey-Floyd was an actress, playwright, director<br />

and pioneer that enrolled in 1967. During her time oncampus<br />

she created a legacy that follows her today.<br />

She founded the Black Student Union at UA. She was<br />

the first Black Bama Belle and the first Black woman to<br />

appear on the homecoming court. She was also the first<br />

Black woman to be an officer of the Associated Women’s<br />

Students organization.<br />

Lena Prewitt became the first Black professor at the<br />

university in 1970 for the Culverhouse College of Business<br />

before her retirement. She is also responsible for being<br />

the only Black person to work with Wernher von Braun at<br />

NASA for the Saturn V project.<br />

Laci Jordan graduated from the university with two<br />

degrees, one in criminal justice and the other in design.<br />

She has had her art commissioned by various brands such<br />

as Disney, Nike, Ulta Beauty and New York Times to name<br />

a few.<br />

Sonequa Martin-Green is another UA alumna who<br />

received a degree in theatre. Throughout the years she<br />

has appeared in high-profile shows and movies. She has<br />

also been featured in The Walking Dead and Star Trek:<br />

The Discovery. Her appearance in Star Trek made her<br />

the first Black woman to lead the Star Trek cast. She also<br />

voiced a character for the 2021 movie, Space Jam: A New<br />

Legacy.<br />

“I’ve heard of Sonequa Martin-Green from watching<br />

The Walking Dead and the preview for Star Trek: The<br />

Discovery, but I never knew she was an alumna and I find<br />

that very sad because I admire that woman,” said Hargray.<br />

“In a predominantly white institution, it is important to<br />

not just spotlight but also acknowledge Black women’s<br />

contributions since many of us are overlooked or have to<br />

work twice as hard in these spaces. This ensures that the<br />

hard work that has been put in is appreciated,” said Jayla<br />

Carr, a junior majoring in political science.<br />

It’s important that we acknowledge these amazing Black<br />

women so other students will know the lasting impact<br />

they had on the university and in their career fields. The<br />

university uses the phrase “Where Legends are Made”<br />

and these courageous women are proof of that statement.




In the foothills of Mississippi, the trees grow heavy<br />

with uneaten peaches. Tales have haunted the grounds<br />

of the Devil’s Punchbowl for decades, from pirates to<br />

planes crashing.While the lands may not be filled with<br />

treasure, they are haunted by the history of genocide,<br />

terror, and a past filled with hatred for Black Americans<br />

that cannot be ignored.<br />

The African American registry on December 13, 2020<br />

asserts the Devil’s Punchbowl massacre took place in<br />

Natchez, Mississippi in the 1860s. The camp was located<br />

at the bottom of a cavernous pit with trees located on<br />

the bluffs above, in which 20,000 formerly enslaved Black<br />

Americans were placed in a concentration camp, and later<br />

killed. Unfortunately, this story, like so many, has been<br />

drowned beneath a ravine filled with pain and suffering.<br />

The United States has a deep-rooted history of racially<br />

motivated massacres that were frequently denied and<br />

went undocumented by authorities explains USA Today<br />

on June 21, 2021. We must understand America’s history of<br />

hiding Black massacres, starting with Mississippi.<br />

We’ll uncover the Devil’s Punchbowl by examining its<br />

history, current understanding, and implications because<br />

as noted writer and activist James Baldwin said in 1963,<br />

“American history is longer, larger, more various, and<br />

more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about<br />

it.”<br />

As formerly enslaved Black Americans made their way<br />

to freedom, the town of Natchez quickly went from a<br />

small town to an overpopulated metropolis. In order to<br />

deal with the population influx, a concentration camp<br />

was established by soldiers that essentially eradicated<br />

the formerly enslaved people. The Natchez Museum of<br />

African American History and Culture on February 17,<br />

2021 explains bleak conditions of being cramped inside<br />

locked walls and forced to work until exhaustion or death.<br />

After visiting the Devil’s Punchbowl, James E. Yeatman<br />

of the Western Sanitary Commission in <strong>No</strong>vember 1863<br />

wrote an appeal to President Lincoln regarding the<br />

condition of formerly enslaved Black Americans. Yeatman<br />

stated “seventy-five died in a single day… some returned<br />

to their masters on account of their suffering.”<br />

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in<br />

July 2019 explains the Devil’s Punchbowl was a camp in<br />

Natchez, Mississippi that held as many as 4,000 Black<br />

refugees in the summer of 1863, this number only<br />

growing as years went on. The aforementioned African<br />

American Registry estimates that over 20,000 freedmen<br />

and freedwomen were killed in one year, inside of this<br />

American concentration camp. According to Natchez City<br />

Archives from 2009, Don Estes is a retired Natchez City<br />

Cemetery Director, who conducted extensive research<br />

into individuals buried at the cemetery. Estes said that<br />

during his studies he learned that women and children<br />


were all but left to die in the three “punch bowls.”<br />

“Thousands and thousands died. They were begging to<br />

get out [to go] anywhere but there,” said Estes.<br />

The Devil’s Punchbowl’s lesser-known history as a<br />

mass grave points to the city’s ghosting of certain<br />

demographics. The New York Times on April 5, 2019<br />

asserts the city, Natchez, is even more riddled with history<br />

than it is with Old South manors and manners. Without<br />

the relatively recent recovery of the records of these<br />

bodies, their stories would not have been publicized in<br />

the modern age. Tours and guides by the Garden Club,<br />

the historical representative of the Devil’s Punchbowl<br />

focus on the period immediately preceding the Civil War<br />

and the long clash between <strong>No</strong>rth and South. Natchez,<br />

however, was established in 1716, meaning there are over<br />

100 years of unaccounted history not represented by most<br />

of the Pilgrimage’s tours, erasing the Black lives that lived<br />

and died in the area.<br />

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History in<br />

July 2013 documents Lizzy Brown, who in her diary, speaks<br />

of “flimsy structures built with her father’s lumber, which<br />

she could see from her plantation home.” This Under-the-<br />

Hill area of Natchez was where the camp was located, and<br />

Lizzy saw the horrors of a hastily constructed shack city.<br />

The Heritage Post on December 12, 2020 explains that<br />

today, the bluffs are known for the wild peach grooves,<br />

but the locals will not eat any of the fruit because of the<br />

bodies that fertilized the trees. One researcher noted<br />

that skeletal remains still wash up when the area becomes<br />

flooded by the Mississippi River at the Devil’s Punchbowl.<br />

While some of the stories remain told, they’re relegated<br />

to legend, not history due to the lack of research in the<br />

area. The Devil’s Punchbowl in and of itself is a story to<br />

be told and worth the research to uncover what really<br />

happened.<br />

information about heinous acts such as the Devil’s<br />

Punchbowl in Mississippi. However, as was the case with<br />

the Tulsa Race Massacre it often takes years of research<br />

to even bring the stories to light and actually bring some<br />

form of justice to the victims.<br />

The aforementioned Atlantic asserts the inevitable<br />

response of Americans to tragic stories of mass murder,<br />

of extreme destitution, of dangerous injustice, of a raw<br />

attack on democracy within the very borders of the<br />

United States, is ‘this is not who we are.’ But for white<br />

America, the reality of history should not be ignored.<br />

The Devil’s Punchbowl was not the only Black massacre<br />

swept under the rug The 1866 Memphis Massacre left 46<br />

Black Americans killed, 285 injured, and 5 raped yet no<br />

arrests were made. A 2020 report by the aforementioned<br />

Equal Justice Initiative points out the 1866 Memphis<br />

Massacre did not receive a historical marker until May<br />

2016. In a city with multiple Confederate monuments and<br />

a park named for Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Forrest,<br />

this effort marked the first publicly funded historical<br />

commemoration of the massacre. <strong>No</strong>w, as other Black<br />

massacres like Lake Lanier in Georgia gain traction,<br />

the time for the reckoning of the Black lives lost is long<br />

overdue, and continues without attention.<br />

After uncovering the history of the Devil’s Punchbowl,<br />

with some crucial implications we learned...America’s<br />

history of intentionally not documenting events<br />

highlights its racist history. Prominent journalist Ida B.<br />

Wells puts it plainly: “The way to right wrongs is to turn<br />

the light of truth upon them.” In short, by uncovering<br />

Black massacres and addressing America’s history of<br />

racial violence we can finally begin reconciling with the<br />

past.<br />

It often takes years of extensive research for Black<br />

massacres to properly be brought to light.<br />

The Equal Justice Initiative in 2020 asserts quantitative<br />

documentation of past racial violence remains imprecise<br />

and incomplete. It should not be difficult to find<br />



Q&A<br />

JANESE<br />



Alabama athletics has its fair share of unsung<br />

heroes. For the Crimson Tide women’s basketball<br />

team, that’s assistant coach Janese Constantine.<br />

Constantine has been an integral part of the<br />

success of the tem under head coach Kristy Curry.<br />

Features and Experiences Editor Ashlee Woods sat<br />

down with Constantine to talk about her coaching<br />

journey, motherhood and Christianity.<br />

What started your passion for basketball?<br />

Janese Constantine: So I had an older brother, he was<br />

already involved in basketball, baseball, and soccer. Those<br />

were the four things he was involved with. My dad also<br />

plays football. My dad is still coaching right now. So I<br />

grew up in a basketball family. I just was naturally drawn<br />

to playing ball, being rough and being outside. I started<br />

playing around five, so I just had a natural passion for the<br />

game. That’s what got me going.<br />

Did you have any players that you looked up<br />

to when you started playing basketball?<br />

I was a huge, huge Lisa Leslie fan. I was actually really tall<br />

for my age. I was always the tallest kid in class, boy or girl.<br />

I’ll never forget when I was in fifth grade, my nickname<br />

was baby Shaq. I was taller than all the guys out there.<br />

Then, around seventh or eighth grade is when the guys<br />

started shooting on me. I really just stopped growing,<br />

then. But I was the tallest in class for a long time. So, I<br />

11<br />

Photo courtesy of UA Athletics

thought I was going to be a post player. I thought I was<br />

going to be 6’5. But I am not, but growing up I was a huge<br />

Lisa Leslie fan. I still am.<br />

How did you know or when did you know<br />

when you wanted to start to coach?<br />

Probably when I was in high school and college --- more so<br />

college. I went to this thing called Point Guard College. It<br />

was a really cool opportunity for me. It gave me a chance<br />

to see the game in another way, another light. It was more<br />

about talking about the game versus playing the game. It<br />

was in a classroom-like setting, so I really enjoyed that. It<br />

was seeing the doors basketball could open and thinking<br />

about how I can be involved once I got done playing.<br />

That’s when it kind of opened my eyes that I could really<br />

do this. <strong>No</strong>w back then, I didn’t really know if I thought I<br />

wanted to be a college coach. But I knew, at some point, I<br />

wanted to be coaching in my future.<br />

You’ve talked pretty frequently about being<br />

a tough coach when you started out in your<br />

coaching career. Was there a particular<br />

player, experience or even a season<br />

where you realized that maybe this style of<br />

coaching wasn’t the way to mentor these<br />

players?<br />

After my third year in coaching. I was at IUPUI at the time,<br />

and we got to the end of the year. I always feel like coaches<br />

get to do evaluations on players, tell them their strengths<br />

and weaknesses. I feel like as coaches, we don’t always take<br />

the time to then do that, ourselves. So what I did was I<br />

asked my players, ‘Tell me one thing that you think I’m<br />

good at and one thing I can do better.’ All of them told<br />

me you bring good energy, but they consistently all said,<br />

‘You’re too negative.’ I was like ‘Wow,’ and it kind of hurt.<br />

I was really kind of hurt. I had to take a step back and say,<br />

‘What do you mean? I’m coaching.’ They [the players] said<br />

‘Yeah, but it’s always with a negative connotation. You<br />

don’t pump us up enough.’ That was the turning point.<br />

I have to say, I’m not perfect at it. I’m sure I’ve still been<br />

deemed as negative at times. But, I am conscious of it. I<br />

try to make sure that I am filling their cups. I try to make<br />

sure I’m not nitpicking. I do try to make sure that I look<br />

at their effort, their intent. If they’re trying and they’re<br />

not getting it, then maybe I need to coach it better. Again,<br />

I’m not perfect. I’m sure I fail at times. I just try to have an<br />

awareness of just being positive.<br />

You’ve been very open about your faith.<br />

Have you always practiced Christianity? If<br />

not, when did you decide to delve into the<br />

faith a little bit more?<br />

I was fortunate enough that my parents introduced me<br />

to Christ at a young age and He’s always been a part of<br />

my life. I grew up going to church and Sunday School. I<br />

was a Sunday School teacher for a while. It’s always been a<br />

part of my life and I’m not perfect. There have been times<br />

where I’m like, ‘Whoa, I’m kind of triggered right now.<br />

I’ve got to get back to where my foundation is.’ I don’t try<br />

to force [my faith] on anyone. I don’t try to make you talk<br />

about it. I’m not trying to make my players talk about it.<br />

But if they want you, I’m hoping they aren’t afraid. I’m<br />

here for them if they want to have a conversation. I’ve had<br />

players that want to be saved, but don’t know how to do<br />

that. So, I think I’ve tried in that manner to just be there<br />

for them.<br />

We’ve seen different players, coaches and<br />

athletes become more open about their<br />

faith. Has that been inspiring to you at all,<br />

seeing that become more mainstream in<br />

sports culture?<br />

I think it’s all good. I think it’s about whatever you want<br />

to do personally. I love the boldness and the courage. But<br />

I think there are so many other people who may not be<br />

as outwardly and openly about it. It still doesn’t mean<br />

you’re not as strong and as passionate about it. For me,<br />

I’m one of those nights. I don’t wake up every morning<br />

and shout out or I make sure I tweet something spiritual.<br />

But if there is something on my heart, if I’m led to say<br />

something, I’ll do it. I’ll post it and I’ll talk about it. But I<br />

don’t feel like I have to always be over the top. But when<br />

I’m led to [share something spiritual], then I’ll definitely<br />


try and put it out there for people because I never know<br />

who I may be encouraging.<br />

Transitioning over to your journey to<br />

Alabama, when did you know that you<br />

possibly wanted to branch out and leave<br />

Indiana?<br />

Well, I actually got here by way of my husband. He got<br />

a football job here before I got the basketball job here.<br />

So when he got the football job here, we decided to leave<br />

Indiana to help to pursue his career. It’s hard to say no to<br />

anything Alabama football-related. So, I got down here and<br />

after three weeks, that’s when they [women’s basketball]<br />

had the opening. That’s how I got involved with Alabama<br />

women’s basketball so my journey down here was a little<br />

different. I was actually content in Indiana, where I was,<br />

and I was 45 minutes from home, from my parents. All<br />

that was a big plus when I had my first child.<br />

How has being a mother impacted your<br />

coaching style?<br />

It’s made me a better coach. I think I’m looking at things<br />

differently. I see things differently. I think it’s helped<br />

me relate to kids differently. I think it helps me relate to<br />

their space differently. It helps me be more gracious. It<br />

helps me to be way more forgiving and try to be kinder.<br />

There was a situation where a young lady on a team got<br />

into some trouble on our team. My heart was broken.<br />

Someone said, ‘Well, why does that hurt you?’ I said,<br />

‘Because that’s somebody’s baby.’ They made a mistake<br />

and now their business is kind of out there. I don’t think<br />

they did that on purpose. She didn’t wake up to try to<br />

make a mistake, but she made it. So I’m saddened that I<br />

know that’s somebody’s baby, and I know they still raised<br />

them right. I would want someone to have the same grace<br />

and compassion towards my girls. I just think everything<br />

has made me more in touch with the reality of what these<br />

young ladies go through day-to-day and the decisions<br />

that they have to make --- whether right or wrong --- but<br />

the decisions they have to make and how they learn from<br />

them.<br />

athletics at the collegiate level. What does<br />

it feel like to be a part of this new wave of<br />

women’s sports mentoring these players<br />

that are being broadcast on ESPN and<br />

ABC?<br />

It definitely feels good because I think you’re part of an<br />

evolution of a way that is allowing just more and more<br />

access to them. More access to their personal lives, more<br />

access to how they handle things and do things and the<br />

publicity that they get. I think it’s amazing. But, I think<br />

it challenges them of why making good decisions is such<br />

a huge thing now because of the access and now you have<br />

put on and plastered on the front of TVs and posters.<br />

Everything is in the light, everything that they do and<br />

so being a good role model, things of that nature [is<br />

important]. It’s fun to be a part of this and it’s fun to have<br />

all your games on TV. It’s fun to tell your family. ‘Hey, we’ll<br />

be on this channel!” All that’s fun. I think it’s a fun, fun<br />

time to be involved with athletics.<br />

What has been the most inspiring part of<br />

your coaching journey?<br />

When I see the ladies that I’ve coached post-college.<br />

When I see them now with babies, husbands, jobs and<br />

careers and different moves. That is what to me becomes<br />

the most inspiring. For them to tell me, ‘Hey, I appreciate<br />

you. You just mean so much to me,’ I think that’s probably<br />

what brings me the greatest joy knowing that. I tell them<br />

all the time, I pray that one day we can be friends. I pray<br />

that when you get done, we had a strong enough bond<br />

that you didn’t mind me pushing you. One of my former<br />

players --- her name is Brenna --- she’s done playing now.<br />

One of the things she tells me all the time, ‘I appreciate<br />

you every day for never letting me settle. Never letting<br />

me settle for anything less than my best. That, for me, lets<br />

me know to keep going. Keep pushing these young ladies<br />

because they’ll be thankful, they’ll be grateful. You won’t<br />

win them all, you won’t. I’ve had players I’ve coached that<br />

when they’re done, we may never speak again. It’s nothing<br />

bad. It’s just that maybe we just didn’t click. But I still<br />

have way more that still stay in touch, still reach out.<br />

We’ve seen over the past couple of years<br />

rapid growth and coverage of women’s<br />




April 8!<br />

Visit sheltonstate.edu to apply and register!<br />

It is the policy of the Alabama Community College System Board of Trustees and Shelton State Community College, a<br />

postsecondary institution under its control, that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, national origin, religion,<br />

marital status, disability, gender, age, or any other protected class as defined by federal and state law, be excluded<br />

from participation, denied benefits, or subjected to discrimination under any program, activity, or employment.





15<br />

Introduction<br />

Sorting through the countless files in the Google drive,<br />

I began logging and transcribing each of the audio<br />

files in the folder. It was the first week of my fellowship<br />

with United Women of Color – a nonprofit dedicated to<br />

community-based solutions for racialized violence in my<br />

hometown of Huntsville, Alabama.<br />

UWOC was my latest attempt at identifying the needs in<br />

my community and actively working to supplement the<br />

gaps. Law school was the end goal, and meaningful civic<br />

engagement would allow me to identify the areas of law<br />

I wanted to practice, and prepare for long-term advocacy<br />

in the legal field.<br />

The audio files contained various interviews of Black and<br />

white families sharing their perspective on race-relations<br />

in 2021. My supervisor had given me little information<br />

on the content of the interviews – only that the<br />

transcriptions and summaries would be presented to the<br />

Huntsville City Council in a case against the Huntsville<br />

Police Department. I clicked on the file labeled “Ava 1” and<br />

began typing short descriptions as the audio played:<br />

“Woman says that in everyday life she felt safe when seeing<br />

police officers in the community: she had no reason to be<br />

nervous, never felt like they had any ill will or malice.<br />

Woman describes seeing police officers at a protest heavily<br />

armed like they were about to ‘invade.’ ‘impending doom.’<br />

‘It felt scary and it felt like I couldn’t trust them-’<br />

Before the minute-long interview could end, a realization<br />

washed over me: The protest “Ava” was recounting, was<br />

the same demonstration I attended a year and a half ago.<br />

Brief Background<br />

The morning of the protest, I told my cousin, a former<br />

parole officer, that I didn’t plan on attending. It wasn’t<br />

because I didn’t believe in the cause – but, rather, I<br />

felt better suited to engage in alternative forms of<br />

activism. That summer, I had edited 12 poignant articles<br />

highlighting the racial justice movement for the limitededition<br />

summer issue of Alice, interned for a New York<br />

politician with projects focused on COVID-19 healthcare<br />

equity, and participated in a Pre-Law Program. Surely,<br />

most of this involvement allowed me a “rain-check”<br />

from this potentially dangerous protest. Yet, there was<br />

a lingering sentiment of guilt that accompanied my<br />

declaration that I was staying home.<br />

My father, born and raised in Monroeville Alabama, to a<br />

farmer and housewife, was 62 years old when I was born.<br />

Throughout his life, he advocated for Black families of<br />

fallen WW2 veterans, served as a magistrate, marched for<br />

civil rights on Bloody Sunday, and eventually, became an<br />

Organic Chemistry professor at Alabama A&M University.<br />

Only a year after his untimely death, the more exciting<br />

stories of his activism contributed to an overwhelming<br />

pressure to advocate for racial justice like he did: loudly<br />

and on the front lines.

Moreover, as his sole offspring, I had a responsibility to<br />

continue his legacy. With this in mind, I threw together<br />

a makeshift poster, organized a carpool, and headed<br />

downtown.<br />

Despite being entirely nonviolent, the protest ended in<br />

the brutal tear gassing of several hundred protesters.<br />

Even with 20 years of racialized harassment under my<br />

belt, I always said that the country my father described<br />

was an America I didn’t know. The chaos that ensued<br />

on that foggy Wednesday evening served as a terrifying<br />

introduction to that America.<br />

Reflection<br />

My attendance was fueled by a desire to advocate for racial<br />

justice as he did, but criminal justice law was traumatizing<br />

and heavy for me. My undergraduate research featuring<br />

true cases of Black, underage human trafficking survivors<br />

was rewarding, yet horrifyingly memorable.<br />

how academic empowerment can be the biggest blow to<br />

white supremacy.<br />

Conclusion<br />

Like that summer, my fellowship soon came to an end.<br />

However, like parting gifts, I treasured the lessons they<br />

left for me: There are countless ways to advocate for<br />

racial justice - all equally impactful. Racial inequities in<br />

healthcare or family law are equally as important as racial<br />

inequities in policing and incarceration.<br />

Whether it’s representing Black entrepreneurs cheated by<br />

predatory legal agreements in contract law, or protecting<br />

Black creators in intellectual property, the legal field I<br />

choose will advance the values my father championed. In<br />

doing so, reminding others of a reality that myself, “Ava”,<br />

and countless Black Americans know all too well – the law<br />

is a lived experience.<br />

Post-protest, I reflected on my academic journey up to that<br />

point. On my quest to make a difference, I had – albeit<br />

unintentionally - created a self-imposed monolith about<br />

what it meant to combat racial injustice. One composed<br />

solely of dramatically leading protests and sit-ins, but<br />

excluded creative writing, working for nonprofits in my<br />

community, and shamelessly pursuing a field where I am<br />

drastically underrepresented.<br />

Essentially, I didn’t have to protest to join the fight against<br />

anti-blackness. Similarly, I don’t have to practice criminal<br />

justice law, to advocate for racial equity in the legal field.<br />

Further, when analyzing my father’s history, I had<br />

overlooked his most impactful and lengthy form of<br />

activism: his 40 years as an Organic Chemistry professor.<br />

Throughout my childhood, I perceived the highlights<br />

of his activism to have been the ones recorded in the<br />

history books. Yet, the Black graduates he inspired in his<br />

decades of teaching are living, breathing, examples of<br />




Dear Students,<br />

My greatest advice for having a successful and flourishing<br />

undergraduate career is to take advantage of all resources<br />

on campus. Right now, as a student at THE University of<br />

Alabama you are already ahead of the game. There are<br />

countless mentors, programs and organizations available<br />

to help you succeed as a student. Take advantage. You<br />

already have the world at your fingertips, you just have to<br />

grab it. Personally, if I could redo my college experience I<br />

would take advantage of more resources and opportunities<br />

offered at UA.<br />

Another key to success: Internships. Interning has helped<br />

me land my first job in Journalism just one short year<br />

after graduating. Internships will provide you with the<br />

professional experience needed to succeed in your field.<br />

They will also open countless doors for you once you<br />

graduate. I highly recommend researching different<br />

internships that best suit your professional goals. Finally,<br />

but most importantly, prioritize your mental health. Your<br />

mental health is just as important as your education. You<br />

won’t be able to perform your best academically if you<br />

are not okay mentally. Get some sleep, stay organized,<br />

practice self-care and take deep breaths. As long as you<br />

work hard and apply yourself, everything will work itself<br />

out.<br />

So remember: Take advantage, intern, and don’t forget to<br />

breathe.<br />

Jasmine Hollie<br />

Class of 2020<br />


#LovetheloftstyleL o v e t h e l o f t s t y l e<br />

c o n t a c t u s t o d a y a b o u t o u r s p e c i a l f o r f a l l 2 0 2 2<br />

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